Dodgers Will Only Trade For Middle Relievers

Joe PachecoContributor IJuly 23, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  General manager Ned Colletti of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks to reporters before the spring training baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on February 26, 2009 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Colletti called the latest offer to Manny Ramirez a 'significant concession' by the team but said he's not sure how close the sides might be to a deal. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Toronto Blue Jays' pitching ace Roy Halladay is undoubtedly the biggest name available in this year’s Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. The Dodgers have been mentioned as a possible destination for the seven-time all-star and 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner.

Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi has set a July 28 deadline for any trade involving Halladay to be completed. Considering the kings ransom that Ricciardi is seeking for the two-time 20-game winner, I just don’t see him winding up in Chavez Ravine. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti is a shrewed negotiator who doesn’t believe in mortgaging the future for a quick fix.

At last year's deadline Colletti parted with Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris in the three-way deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox that brought Manny Ramirez to LA. That’s the equivalent of acquiring one of the biggest bats in the game for “a magic bag of beans”.

According to a recent report by SI’s Jon Heyman, Ricciardi is believed to be interested in a price tag that would include either Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw along with one of their outfielders, either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier and a prospect or two. Even though Halladay is one of the top two or three pitchers in the game and would undoubtedly give the Dodgers a legitimate No. 1 starter, I just don’t see Colletti paying that kind of price tag. 

What I can see the Dodgers doing is trying to add depth to their bullpen in light of recent developments with the toe of closer Jonathan Broxton and the fact that relievers Ronald Belisario and Cory Wade are currently on the disabled list. Another possibility I can envision would be to try and find another back of the rotation starter and move the recently struggling Hiroki Kuroda to the bullpen. A player to fulfill those needs can be had without the Dodgers having to mortage one of their prized minor league possessions. 

Fortunately for the Dodgers they have the luxury of depth in both their infield and outfield positions with guys like Mark Loretta, Juan Castro and Juan Pierre available to give the usual starters a day off when needed. Bench play is an important factors in making a postseason run in October. The first example that comes to my mind is Dave Roberts who came off the bench to get a crucial stolen base for the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS that turned the tide in the series. A second example is Geoff Blum who hit a home run in the top of the 14th inning that won Game Three of the 2005 World Series for the White Sox

The Dodgers will undoubtedly be making a move within the next week, but if you’re looking for a blockbuster deal involving a certain pitcher north of the border, I think your eyes are focused on the wrong place. What I can see is Colletti making a move that will satisfy short-term goals without sacrificing long-term visions.